Wednesday, September 7, 2016



Genre:       Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  


Wanna be writer Lena London is running low on options. She doesn’t have the most thrilling job, her relationship just wasn’t making it and her best friend has moved away to Blue Lake, Indiana. Just when things look at their worst though, said best friend calls with an intriguing proposal—it appears Lena’s lifelong idol, author Camilla Graham is looking for an assistant! After a quick phone interview with her most favorite author Lena is on her way to Blue Lake to take on her dream job.

Things seems great when she arrives—even to Camilla making sure Lena’s cat, Lestrade is comfortable in his new surroundings.  She settles in quickly and begins working with Camilla on her latest book.  When she ventures into town Lena meets several residents but quickly finds that while the women are open and friendly, the men in town aren’t exactly warm and welcoming. And then to top it off, on her way back from town she stumbles on a body…a very dead body.

While Lena herself isn’t a suspect, someone she’s growing fond of is and it seems more things keep happening to her new friend than seems right.  That is enough to put Lena on the trail of the real killer.

When I saw the blurb for Julia Buckley’s A DARK AND STORM MURDER I couldn’t help but pick it up.  The author’s synopsis says it much better than I do above—so do check it out and then keep on reading.  I really liked Lena and Camilla.  What a fun duo that bring the reader along for their ride. Buckley’s animal characters are well drawn and well and Lestrade’s antics give a level of humor to the story.  I did have a bit of a time accepting Lena’s attraction to Sam West.  In less than 24 hours, after he initially dissed her, she’s his champion and in love with him.  I just didn’t buy it.  I can much more easily see her matched up with lawman Doug—a much more likely choice.  But this is a cozy mystery and not a romance so either way, as long as the romance stays on the back burner in future stories I’m good to go. 

The other thing that had my considering rating this book a 3-1/2 instead of the 4 I ultimately gave it was the ending.  I’m not a fan of so-called “cliffhangers” where if you want to know the outcome you have to buy the next book.  For me it doesn’t build suspense, but rather feels more like a ploy to try to get more sales.  It doesn’t add to the story, especially when it’s a character I didn’t feel an emotional involvement with.

I loved the setting of the book and Buckley has a great voice for a gothic should she seriously go in that direction. Almost till the very end I had the feeling that Lena was going to find herself in a situation like the main character in the movie PASSENGERS or TV show LOST.  Just when life couldn’t get any worse for her she receives a phone call that takes her to the almost perfect town…but it’s Buckley’s voice that adds this great aura of mystery to the story—not just who killed the victim, but this seeming overall mystery of Blue Lake.

Definitely one for your must reads.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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